Employers added a seasonally adjusted 199,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, slower than earlier in the year but consistent with gains before the pandemic. November’s job gain was roughly 169,000, slightly cooler than 180,000 in October. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7%. It had climbed to 3.9% in October from 3.4% in April, fanning fears on Wall Street of a more rapid slowdown ahead. Often, a rise in the unemployment rate of that magnitude has coincided with the start of a recession. Amara Omeokwe and Nick Timiraos, “Economy’s Soft Landing Comes Into View as Job Growth Slowly Descends,” Wall Street Journal Online, December 8, 2023.
Neptune, in its ruling sign of Pisces, turned direct in the middle of last week (and not retrograde, as noted in last week’s column). And the week ended with Venus in opposition to Jupiter, with the Sun still transiting the middle of Sagittarius (the sign of Jupiter’s rulership). What happens when Jupiter and Neptune and their ruling signs are highlighted in the same week? Irrational euphoria or hysteria. For many of the world’s stock markets and cryptocurrencies, it was euphoria. For other global indices and Crude Oil, it was more like hysteria. With Mercury about to turn retrograde this week, it is not surprising to see one part of the world exhibiting strong rallies and another part teetering on breakdowns.
The stars of the global stock market last week were India and Germany, whose major indices soared to new all-time highs. There was also joy in the stock markets of the United States and Europe, several of which are closing in on new all-time highs or at least multi-month highs. Anxiety, on the other hand, is growing in China and Hong Kong, where indices are falling. China’s Shanghai Composite is nearing its yearly low, and the Hang Seng notched a new 2-year low last week.
In other markets, Gold made a new all-time high early last week, rising to $2152. But by Friday, it had plunged to $2010, so anxiety is rising there, too. Silver was even more skittish, rallying to 26.34 last Monday, which was a test to its yearly high of 26.43 recorded in May, only to collapse $3.00 down to 23.24 on Friday, a drop of over 11%. This fulfills our warning of a 9% or greater decline given in last week’s Gold and Silver subscription report.
Both Bitcoin and Ethereum put in stellar performances last week as well. BTC rose to $44,497 on December 6 as Neptune turned direct, its highest mark since April 2022. Ethereum reached 2392, its highest level since May 2022. Crude Oil, on the other hand, fell to 68.80 on December 7, one day after the Neptune station. It is still well above the double bottom lows of March and May at 64.36 and 63.64, respectively, but given that it is in the time band for a 44-month cycle trough, the possibility of breaking to a new low first cannot be ruled out if it doesn’t reverse here.
The year isn’t likely to go out with a whimper based on geocosmics. It might, however, go out with a whiplash or two as Mercury begins its retrograde cycle (aka “the Trickster”) this week on December 13, which will last through January 2. Typically, financial markets will reverse within four trading days of Mercury retrograde. If not, then they can reverse within two trading days of its mid-cycle point, which would be December 23, a weekend.
We also note five planetary aspects or stations that take place between December 6 and 21 have high correlations to sudden reversals or whipsaws. That’s a lot, and with the Trickster in its glory, traders are advised to be on the alert for sudden, sharp price movements even though the holiday season is usually jolly and steady. It may not be so steady during this period. Perhaps traders are exiting positions for end-of-the-year tax reasons. Or perhaps they want to exit to show profits for the year to their clients.
It has, after all, been a fantastic last two months for many (especially MMA subscribers), whether you trade stocks, metals, or cryptos. I am very proud of the MMA analysts and their performance this year, such as in Gold, where every primary cycle low (three of them) was called accurately and resulted in exceptional profits. These were the lows of late February near 1800, late June near 1900, and best of all, the special report sent out to subscribers on October 4 as Gold traded below 1830 with a special options strategy that ended with a 12-fold return. We will visit that trade and look at new options trades in this week’s special webinar with veteran options trader Derek Panaia. Click here for details.
The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects – his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity. Henry Hazlitt, Economic journalist, “Marxism in One Minute,” 1998.
Imagine receiving a tax bill for the appreciation on your investments, including the equity in your home, before you’ve even sold them. It could happen if the government has its way at the Supreme Court… the justices focused on the question of whether the 16th Amendment’s authorization of “income” taxes allows for the taxing of unrealized gains. It has long been understood that income taxes apply only to realized gains. Ilya Shapiro, “The Wealth Tax You May Already Owe,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2023.
Conventional wisdom purports that every presidential election is a referendum on the economy during the watch of the incumbent. If true, what can the current leadership do to assure the economy will be strong by election time? A lot.
As I see it, one of the main hurdles in the current U.S. economy is the housing market and the frustration it elicits among voters today. This is the result of the sudden reversal of low interest rates during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2019-2021, to the inflation of 2022-2023 that caused mortgage rates to explode from under 3% to nearly 8%. Many people are locked in to sub-3% rates and are now unwilling to sell their homes and take on a much larger mortgage rate. Thus, there are few homes for sale. And those that are for sale now command prices well above their 2019 levels. No one wants to sell and lose the 2.5-3% mortgage rate, and no one can afford to buy at nearly three times that rate unless they have cash. The housing market is frozen, and so is the refinancing avenue, which provides much liquidity to the consumer/homeowner. These could stunt the growth of the economy shortly, despite the positive job reports. Yes, more people have jobs, but not jobs that have seen wages increase as much as inflation and home prices over less than two years.
In the meantime, voters who want to move or buy are frustrated with the economy, despite the leadership’s attempt to paint this as a successful economy.
Rates have started to decline recently, which is a favorable sign. But I think it will take 30-year fixed mortgages to get below 6% and preferably 5.5% to get homeowners to sell and potential homebuyers to purchase. Can the administration facilitate that by the election? I think they can, and if they do, that will provide the boost needed to be re-elected – IF the economy is the main driver of the election.
I think something like this is the plan. But there is a catch. If they succeed in bringing mortgage rates down to 5.5%, there will be a moderate lag time after which inflation could suddenly roar back. Ideally (for the incumbents), mortgage rates might continue to fall into the election. People might start selling their homes and buying new ones, thus feeling better about the economy and the current administration. That is until prices skyrocket on the next economic wave that begins shortly after the election. It all has to be timed perfectly for the election.
How long could this boost to the economy via the housing market last? One possibility is until mid-2025 when Jupiter in Cancer crosses the U.S. natal Venus, Jupiter, and Sun. After that, Saturn (and Neptune) move into Aries and begin their square aspects to the same Cancer planets in the U.S. chart. Additionally, 2026 will be the middle of the President’s term, plus the Lunar North Node will enter Aquarius and then Capricorn, which are often periods of a low in the economy.
Time your real estate planning accordingly.
Disclaimer and statement of purpose: The purpose of this column is not to predict the future movement of various financial markets. However, that is the purpose of the MMA (Merriman Market Analyst) subscription services. This column is not a subscription service. It is a free service, except in those cases where a fee may be assessed to cover the cost of translating this column from English into a non-English language. This weekly report is written with the intent to educate the reader on the relationship between astrological factors and collective human activities as they are happening. In this regard, this report will oftentimes report what happened in various stock and financial markets throughout the world in the past week, and discuss that movement in light of the geocosmic signatures that were in effect. It will then identify the geocosmic factors that will be in effect in the next week, or even month, or even years, and the author’s understanding of how these signatures will likely affect human activity in the times to come. The author (Merriman) will do this from a perspective of a cycles’ analyst looking at the military, political, economic, and even financial markets of the world. It is possible that some forecasts will be made based on these factors. However, the primary goal is to both educate and alert the reader as to the psychological climate we are in, from an astrological perspective. The hope is that it will help the reader understand the psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events and hence financial markets of the day. No guarantee as to the accuracy of this report is being made here. Any decisions in financial markets are solely the responsibility of the reader, and neither the author nor the publishers assume any responsibility at all for those individual decisions. Reader should understand that futures and options trading are considered high risk.